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DFO Reverses Cuts to Gulf Shrimp, Accepts Harvester Proposal for Rollover

April 3, 2019

DFO Reverses Cuts to Gulf Shrimp, Accepts Harvester Proposal for Rollover

Shrimp Harvesters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are pleased that DFO has reversed the decision to reduce the quota by 15 per cent, instead approving a rollover from the 2018 fishery. This is welcome news to shrimp harvesters in 4R who proposed this solution to DFO earlier this year.

“DFO Management must listen to harvesters and incorporate their knowledge in decisions to ensure healthy, sustainable fisheries. Today’s announcement is a show of good faith by the Department that recognizes that a new approach is needed to manage our fisheries holistically, through a balanced ecosystem approach that values the input of fish harvesters,” said Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President.

A meeting was held in early February where the 4R committee proposed a rollover of last year’s quota as a result of high catch rates in 2018. Following this, a high-level meeting with senior DFO officials was set for March 28. However, on March 26 it was announced that the fishery would be cut by 15 per cent as a result of the precautionary approach (PA) framework. The meeting went ahead on March 28 where Ren Genge, 4R Fleet Chair, and David Decker, FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer, argued the Union’s position for the Gulf shrimp fishery.

“We were understandably frustrated with the initial announcement that we’d be facing a significant cut to the fishery this year. Despite this, it was important that we had the opportunity to make our case to senior decision makers at the March 28 meeting. We are pleased that DFO listened to our concerns and reversed the decision,” said Genge.

“The marine ecosystem is undoubtedly changing and DFO must take this into account when developing fisheries rebuilding plans. The Department must engage harvesters in meaningful consultation and value the history and expertise they bring to the table. We are hopeful that today’s news is the first step towards a new way of doing things,” said Decker.